Track By Track: Lucy Spraggan – We Are
Setting the tone of the record, Lucy’s second effort kicks off with a mid-tempo tune that captures her affirming lifeview. Fans of ‘Join The Club’, rejoice! She hasn’t decided to delve into the world of screamo metalcore just yet – this track sounds like it would fit nicely in a set surrounded by songs from her major label debut.
Surely a bedmate of single ‘Lighthouse’, ‘London Bound’ does the whole building-into-a-massive-oh-ohh-ohh-sing-a-long that even your hardened football chanter would have to take his hat off to. Alike ‘Lighthouse’, it would be a shoe-in for next single thanks to Lucy’s signature folk-pop style and an impressive set of lyrics that capture the fearful excitement of a jetsetting lifestyle.
Undoubtedly the moment of the record. It’s one of the clear shifts forward from the last record and, whilst most artists draw back when going the independent route, Lucy has produced the most full-bodied effort of her career with this track. A remarkable single and a message that suits the anthemic nature of the unrelenting, powerful piano-drum march only made more epic by the soaring strings and choral undertones.
In This Church
As it’s title suggests, religious motives are on the cards for this one and Lucy does not shield her blows. From the off, the lyrics denote how there is ‘no safety in this church’ and criticises those that use religion to condemn. Sounds a bit intense, dunnit? No worries, she teams it with another folk-tinged backdrop so you can bop away whilst getting all philosophical.
Part of Lucy’s charm is her emotive storytelling and ‘The Postman’ is another resonating example of it. Matching a heartbreaking tale with a musical refrain that swells with every reprise, Lucy focuses on the titular character to deliver a unique but touching take on the story of a soldier’s wife. Definitely one of the highlights from the record.
I Don’t Know
Working with a similar technique, ‘I Don’t Know’ offers up another set of poignant, tender lyrics juxtaposed with a bright, jangly mid-tempo. It’s repetition makes for one of the most infectious choruses on the record and with a story that the majority of listeners will be able to relate to, wouldn’t be a bad choice for future single, either.
‘London Bound’ is to ‘Lighthouse’ as ‘Broken Bones’ is to ‘Beer Fear’. Once again weaving a tale of bad decisions influenced by the good stuff, Spraggan this time teaches that even under the influence, you can’t act like a plonker. It’s bright, vibrant and instant and has Lucy take on yet another big issue with a cheeky grin and a catchy hook.
The most experimental track on ‘We Are’ – namely due to the reggae influence. Yep. No surprises then that this is the summer anthem of the record as it deals a chorus full to the brim of acronyms. ‘I.O.U.N.O.L.O.V.E.’ she states in the mellow choruses which act as a nice breather amidst the frantic guitar-led verses.
‘Coming Down’ is probably the ballad-iest ballad on offer – sparse acoustic guitars, interlaced strings and layered vocals can all be ticked off the list. But this is Lucy Spraggan and Lucy Spraggan isn’t predictable. ‘Coming Down’ is actually another affirming, positive lyric of not coming down from your high despite whoever pulls at your ankles and feels like a dreamy respite from the uptempos preceding it.
Until I’ve Lived My Life
One of the only songs that requires a few repeated listens, ‘Until I’ve Lived My Life’ isn’t as instant as the rest and requires a little more thought. It’s more than worthy, though, as it is potentially the lyrical highlight from the album and may have you shedding a few tears if you’re as sensitive as I am on a Sunday morning. Whilst it’s far from a funeral dirge, it does focus on what Lucy hopes to have achieved before her time comes and if one of those dreams is ‘a gorgeous middle eight’, she will be resting easy.
From the entire record, ‘Uninspired’ can boast the best vocal performance from Lucy. Her conviction is unmatched anywhere else and the way her voice has been developed and honed is clear. The piano arrangement is equally as beautiful and we all know that the lyrics are impressive once again, don’t we? Yes, we do.
Apparently an original demo, ‘Paper Cuts’ already feels complete. Another track that relies on vocals and piano, it tells a story in a different way to ‘The Postman’. The focus here is the core message of support and survival through abuse. Her touching honesty gives Lucy the edge that is needed to talk about these topics confidently and fearlessly. That is the sentiment that leaves you when ‘We Are’ ends, that Lucy Spraggan is an artist that doesn’t just care about making good music, she is an artist that has the drive and determination to go forward and make a change in the world with it.